Making the case: Legal opinions on LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill in Jacksonville | News

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Making the case: Legal opinions on LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Human Rights Ordinance 296 is stirring a legal debate in Jacksonville.

"It's not up for other people to define my worthiness as a human being. And that's exactly what's happening here in this city council meeting," said Attorney Carrington Mead.

Mead went toe-to-toe with Councilmember Don Redman on Human Rights Ordinance 296.

"That's not the first time I've had someone address me that way, that's not the rudest anyone has ever been. So I wasn't shocked or surprised by his response, I wholly expected it," she said.

But what she does expect is for the city to approve the ordinance that would protect the LGBT community in Jacksonville on the job, in their homes, and in public places.

"No one's civil rights should be put up for a vote. And the US Supreme Court has talked about that. Rights are not optionally put up for a vote, you can't vote on someone's rights," said Mead.

Opponents of the law say it would violate the rights of business owners and religious leaders in the community.

"This law is a bad law for a number of reasons, mostly because it will cause more discrimination than it will prevent," said Attorney Roger Gannum.

Gannum has given the city council his legal opinion of the ordinance, which he says could put the city at risk.

"Businesses have been forced to participate in ceremonies, and basically give their stamp of approval for a behavior that they have a disagreement with," he said.

Whether it passes or not, both attorney's agree the debate surrounding the ordinance will give them a lot of material to work with in court.

"This amount of vitriol that has been spewed out of the mouth of councilmembers, and residents, actually helps make the case that there is oppression and would make it easier for me to sue," said Mead.

Both opponents and supporters of the proposed legislation are expected to speak up at the City Council meeting Tuesday.





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